ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration announced today that it is recognizing Oct. 30 as Mine Rescue Day. The date was selected because of its historic significance. On Oct. 30, 1911, the first national mine rescue demonstration was held in the U.S. It was organized by Dr. Joseph A. Holmes, who in 1910 was appointed as the first director of the U.S. Bureau of Mines by President William Howard Taft. Holmes and Taft attended the inaugural event at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pa.
"To promote the importance of mine rescue teams and recognize the sacrifices made by team members and others who have responded to help miners in need during mine emergencies, I urge the mining community to recognize Oct. 30 as Mine Rescue Day; a day set aside to acknowledge and celebrate the courageous mine rescuers — past and present — who put their lives on the line to save other miners," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "These individuals represent the best of America."
The announcement came during the first meeting of the newly established Holmes Mine Rescue Association, held Oct. 29 and 30 at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beaver, W.Va. The HMRA was created within the Holmes Safety Association at its annual meeting in June to provide a national mine response structure to better support and guide mine emergency response.
The newly created association will provide a national forum for the mine rescue community to collaborate on best practices, procedures and training to enhance mine rescue capabilities for coal and metal/nonmetal mines. It also will serve as a vehicle to disseminate guidelines, training and tools to the mining community.
"I have been involved in a number of mine emergencies during my life and know how critical it is to prepare our mine rescue responders for the emergencies that have so often occurred in the mining industry," said Main. "We owe these mine rescue responders the best training, the best equipment and the best preparation we can provide so they can be ready to respond should the need arise."
More information and photographs from the National Mine Health and Safety Academy's exhibit, "The History of Mine Rescue," is available at http://www.msha.gov/TRAINING/LIBRARY/historyofminerescue/historyofminerescue.asp.
MSHA has also made additional information about Mine Rescue Day available at http://www.msha.gov/MineRescue/MineRescueDay/MineRescueDay.asp.
Editor's Note: Read Assistant Secretary of Labor Main's blog post, "Today in History: Mine Rescue Day". Captions of the photos in the order they appear are: 1) President Taft and Dr. Holmes attend the inaugural mine rescue demonstration; 2) Assistant Secretary of Labor Main greets mine rescue team member during exercises as the National Mine Health and Safety Academy; and 3) A mine rescue team prepares for competition in the burn tunnel located at the Mine Simulation Lab of the Mine Health and Safety Academy.
President Taft and Dr. Holmes attend the inaugural mine rescue demonstration.
Assistant Secretary of Labor Main greets mine rescue team member during exercises at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy.
A mine rescue team prepares for competition in the burn tunnel located at the Mine Simulation Lab of the Mine Health and Safety Academy.